From malls to state fairs, health clubs to weight loss resorts, it seems like smoothies are everywhere these days. And rightfully so. Smoothies not only make a tasty dessert or weekend beach treat, but if correctly integrated into your diet, they can also become a useful part of your healthy weight loss plan.
Smoothies are quick to make, easy to transport, and offer excellent portion control for those who are focused on weight loss. Here’s what you need to know to make smoothies a regular part of your healthy lifestyle to help you lose weight.
Replace a meal with a smoothie
Since smoothies will fill you up, replace breakfast or lunch with a healthy smoothie to start controlling your daily calorie intake right away. Pack your smoothie with fresh fruits and veggies to fill up on healthy ingredients instead of the usual breakfast or lunch choices that contain lots of starches and carbs.
Icy or creamy? You decide!
Depending on your mood, decide if you want an icy refresher–great for quenching your thirst after a workout–or a creamy treat, which works better as a meal replacement to satisfy hunger. For icy smoothies, you’ll need a few cupfuls of ice (cubes work fine). For thicker smoothies, add a creaming agent like bananas–a good source of potassium and fiber–or avocado, which contains fiber, potassium, vitamin-E and folic acid (don’t worry, the avocado taste will recede behind the fruit).
Stay away from added sugar and fat
Though it might be tempting, adding ice cream, regular yogurt or chocolate syrup to your smoothie can quickly load it up with extra calories. For healthy weight loss using smoothies, add a tablespoon of natural sweetener like agave or honey and use water or almond milk as your liquid.
Keep it cold
Smoothies taste best when they’re fresh from the fridge. Drink your smoothie right after preparing it or keep it in a well insulated travel cup for transport. If your smoothie warms up to room temperature, you might not finish it. The chances are then greater that you’ll get hungry before your next meal, increasing the likelihood of snacking that could interfere with your weight loss.
Beware of the binge
Yes, smoothies are tasty, but they do contain calories. Don’t trick yourself into believing that you can indulge in unlimited smoothies just because they’re full of fruit. While healthy fruits are a big part of any weight loss plan, they do contain lots of sugars in the form of fructose. So suck down that smoothie, then switch to water between meals.
Add the healthy stuff
Supplementing your smoothie with wheat grass, spinach or kale is an excellent way to make your smoothie work harder for your weight loss objectives. Fruits will mask the harsh flavor of the greens and you’ll be getting the helpful benefits of natural vitamins and iron.
Healthy weight loss doesn’t require skipping sweet treats. By working smoothies into your daily diet, you can cut calories, satisfy your sweet tooth and load up on healthy ingredients without even realizing it. What’s your favorite smoothie recipe for weight loss?